The Bombay high court on Thursday sought to know if the subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) could be allowed to resume work at Lavasa in Pune district.
“See, whether certain construction work, which even according to you causes minimal environmental damage can be permitted to continue under your supervision and at the risk of Lavasa,” the court told additional solicitor general Darius Khambatta.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Lavasa Corporation challenging the show-cause notice and stop work order issued by MoEF on November 25.
The division bench of Justice DK Deshmukh and Justice ND Deshpande clarified that it would be an interim arrangement until the MoEF concludes the hearing on the show-cause notice to the subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company and passes a final order.
The court has given the additional solicitor general time till Tuesday, when the decision on the interim arrangement is likely to be taken.
On December 14, the MoEF issued a fresh interim order directing Lavasa Corporation to maintain a status quo. The fresh order was passed after hearing Lavasa Corporation, as directed by the court earlier.
On Thursday, counsel for the HCC subsidiary, Shekhar Naphade argued that a number of baseless conclusions were drawn in the fresh order.
“There was no study, no report, no assessment except for the report submitted by collector, Pune, which stated that certain portion of the land was above the height of 1,000 m from the mean sea level.”
Naphade said the fresh order mentions cutting of a hill, considerable erosion of environment but nowhere it was stated who said so.
“These conclusions are nothing but mere reproduction of allegations leveled by Medha Patkar-led National Alliance of Peoples Movements,” said the senior lawyer.
Justice Deshmukh agreed. “The purpose of this interim period was to find out what exactly was going and to study its effect on the environment, but nothing appears to have done in this regard.”
The judge also asked ASG Khambatta to consider whether Lavasa Corporation could be granted a sort of post facto environmental clearance while taking final decision on the show-cause notice.